100 years ago, farmers could sell their entire harvest regardless of the size, shape or superficial beauty of their produce.
People understood that a small apple was as delicious as a large one, a misshapen carrot as nutrient-rich as any other. Today, demand for aesthetic perfection & homogeneity in produce makes whole-harvest selling impossible for farmers. 66,500 acres are left unharvested annually because produce doesn’t meet these arbitrary standards.
When you put that alongside the surplus created when our partner farmers have a better-than-expected growing season, you end up with an awful lot of produce that's destined to go to waste. Leaving 20 billion pounds of produce in the field makes the already difficult business of farming nearly impossible. And it’s not just produce that is affected! Grocery stores will often reject other products if the expiration dates don’t meet their shelf life standards. Oftentimes, the dates are more than a month out, so if there is nothing wrong with the food and still plenty of time to eat it, we’ll rescue that too.
We don't think there is anything wrong with being a little off-size, a little off-color, a little ugly or a little overproduced - that's why we rescue delicious produce at 3 points in the supply chain - at the farm, packing house & wholesaler.
Sorting in the Field
Fruits & veggies that don't meet a specific spec for size, color, weight or surface blemishes get sorted out & left in the field.
Surplus / Overproduction
Strong seasons with higher-than-expected yields lead to surplus produce that doesn't have a home in the retail market.
Many growers harvest their entire crop & have it sorted at a packing facility. Fruits & veggies that don't meet a very specific spec get sorted out & are destined for waste.
Wholesalers periodically find themselves with excess inventory that they need to move. Without a buyer, this produce will go to waste.
Sorting at the Wholesaler
Produce that arrives at the wholesaler but doesn't meet their retail customer spec will often go to waste if another buyer cannot be found.